Ask the Expert: Sarz Maxwell, MD on Dual Diagnosis

Dr. Sarz Maxwell is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction. She joined our opiate recovery group to speak about Dual Diagnosis for people who struggle with both mental health and substance abuse issues. Listen in.

Discussion Guide:

Many people (75%) who abuse substances also struggle with mental illness. Is that true for you?

Have you received treatment for both?

Dr. Maxwell talks about medications that help vs. medications that work. Some medications mask the symptoms of psychiatric conditions and are therefore temporarily helpful, but don't treat the condition. Benzodiazepines don't work for anything (including anxiety) yet are widely used and misused. Have you used a benzodiazepine with the belief that it works? Have you become psychologically or physically dependent upon them?

Some people wonder about the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the mental illness or the addiction? Do you think one has to be treated first? Or at the same time?

Which of the mental health diagnoses do you think are the most prevalent among people with a substance abuse addiction?

If you are an opiate addict, you have a chronic illness and will have to battle the disease for a lifetime. The only question is whether you want to be winning or losing the battle. What do you intend to do to win the battle?

How long do you think you need to be on a medication to treat your opiate addiction?

What are the similarities and differences between Methadone and Suboxone?